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The Sociology of

W.E.B. DuBois


(New York University Press March 2020)

The Sociology of W. E. B. Du Bois provides a comprehensive introduction to the founding father of American sociological thought. Du Bois is now recognized as a pioneer of American scientific sociology and as someone who made foundational contributions to the sociology of race and to urban and community sociology. However, in this authoritative volume, noted scholars José Itzigsohn and Karida L. Brown provide a groundbreaking account of Du Bois’s theoretical contribution to sociology, or what they call the analysis of “racialized modernity.” Further, they examine the implications of developing a Du Boisian sociology for the practice of the discipline today.

The full canon of Du Bois’s sociological works spans a lifetime of over ninety years in which his ideas evolved over much of the twentieth century. This broader and more systematic account of Du Bois’s contribution to sociology explores how his theories changed, evolved, and even developed to contradict earlier ideas. Careful parsing of seminal works provides a much needed overview for students and scholars looking to gain a better grasp of the ideas of Du Bois, in particular his understanding of racialized subjectivity, racialized social systems, and his scientific sociology. Further, the authors show that a Du Boisian sociology provides a robust analytical framework for the multilevel examination of individual-level processes—such as the formation of the self—and macro processes—such as group formation and mobilization or the structures of modernity—key concepts for a basic understanding of sociology.


"José Itzigsohn and Karida L. Brown have written a book that will stand out for a long time and be debated for years. The Sociology of W. E. B. Du Bois is a guidepost that enables the reader to absorb penetrating analyses of this great scholar pertaining to racism and lessons to address it. Seldom do we find analyses of an extremely complex thinker made crystal clear. This is such a work for anyone interested in a pivotal issue of our time."

- Aldon Morris

"Overall, this impressive monograph acknowledges and reclaims Du Bois’s contributions to sociology. It is part of a growing movement that addresses the discipline’s neglect of this scholar. I highly recommend this monograph for advanced undergraduate and graduate theory courses in sociology and the social sciences."

- Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

"Itzigsohn and Brown offer a bounty of new analysis and a needed synthesis, a holistic view of the sociological contributions of a career that spanned from the 1890s to the 1960s... [The] book’s greatest strength ... is in the excavation and synthesis of Du Bois’s broad body of scholarship. Though scholars have made similar efforts ... Itzigsohn and Brown gift sociologists with what is surely the most comprehensive and ambitious summation of Du Bois’s epistemology."

- Social Forces

"In this necessary, timely, and thorough-going book Itzigsohn and Brown powerfully and provocatively reclaim and present the near century of W. E. B. Du Bois’s sociological contributions with panache and undeniable rigor. Persuasive and well sourced, this book is sure to be a staple in homes and classrooms across the globe for years to come. A pathbreaking classic!"

- Marcus Anthony Hunter

"This is a book for the times. The global protests in response to coronavirus disparities and anti-Black state violence have made it clear that the academy, too, must change. Sociology departments cannot continue to do business as usual. In The Sociology of W. E. B. Du Bois, José Itzigsohn and Karida L.Brown show that a Du Boisian sociology offers an analysis of our present moment where many other subfields of the discipline cannot […] The result of the authors’ comprehensive approach is an inspiring immersion into the mind of someone who theorized from the depths of his own internal pain to the breadth of world empires, sweeps of historical time, and complexity of economic arrangements."

- American Journal of Sociology


Race and Roots through Appalachia

(University of North Carolina Press 2018)

Since the 2016 presidential election, Americans have witnessed countless stories about Appalachia: its changing political leanings, its opioid crisis, its increasing joblessness, and its declining population. These stories, however, largely ignore black Appalachian lives. Karida L. Brown’s Gone Home offers a much-needed corrective to the current whitewashing of Appalachia. In telling the stories of African Americans living and working in Appalachian coal towns, Brown offers a sweeping look at race, identity, changes in politics and policy, and black migration in the region and beyond.


Drawn from over 150 original oral history interviews with former and current residents of Harlan County, Kentucky, Brown shows that as the nation experienced enormous transformation from the pre- to the post-civil rights era, so too did black Americans. In reconstructing the life histories of black coal miners, Brown shows the mutable and shifting nature of collective identity, the struggles of labor and representation, and that Appalachia is far more diverse than you think.


​2019 Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book

in the Sociology of Culture, Section on Culture, American Sociological Association​

2019 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award

Race, Gender, and Class Section, American Sociological Association​

Finalist, 2019 PROSE Award

in Anthropology, Criminology, and Sociology, Association of American Publishers​

Runner-Up, 2018 Weatherford Award for Nonfiction

Berea College and Appalachian Studies Association​

Honorable Mention, Otis Dudley Duncan Award

Sociology of Population Section, American Sociological Association


"Breathtaking in its scope, substance, and style, Gone Home breaks important new ground. Karida Brown's distinctive and compelling voice will deeply impact both scholarly and public audiences. This book is poised to become a classic."

- David Cunningham, Washington University in St. Louis

"Gone Home is a migrating portrait of black families who moved from Alabama plantations to Kentucky coalfields, and from there to cities across the nation. Displaced by industrial decline, these families were forced to redefine the meaning of home and homemaking. Karida Brown eloquently follows the twentieth-century Great Migration and shows how it transformed African American identity and culture. Her beautiful book offers a deep understanding of both the American South and our nation."

- William Ferris, author of The South in Color: A Visual Journal

"In this wondrous and careful work of essential and classic southern sociology, Karida Leigh Brown brilliantly illuminates black subjectivities as lived, realized, and constituted in the overlooked ancestral African American homeland of Appalachian coal country. Traversing time and space, race and region, Gone Home tells about the South in ways heretofore unimaginable."

- Zandria Robinson, author of This Ain't Chicago

"With magnificent prose Gone Home is a powerful sociological and racial analysis of the lives and experiences of black people in and across Kentucky and Appalachia. Karida Brown has gifted us with a book that is a must-read within and beyond the academy."

- Marcus Anthony Hunter, author of Black Citymakers: How the Philadelphia Negro Changed Urban America


2022 Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Book Award

Honorable mention from the American Sociological Association’s (ASA) Section on Race, Gender, and Class

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